Question Fresh Horse Poo?

Discussion in 'Fruit & Vegetable Growing' started by stevo, Jun 15, 2015.

  1. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member

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    Can you put fresh horse poo straight in the vegie garden? Are we dealing with a bacteria health issue here?

    Maybe it should it be mixed in compost for a while first incase it's too strong for the plants?

    Is there's a set process? Problems?

    PS. My neighbour gave me a couple of bags full.
     
  2. Ken W.

    Ken W. Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I've used horse and cow manure fresh from the source directly on the garden (but not around tender plants) without any problem. The main concern I have with using it direct/fresh is for the worms in the garden - have the horses been recently wormed? It usually takes around 4 weeks for the worm treatment to breakdown but I'd give it a bit more time than that to be sure. Check with your neighbour.
     
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  3. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member

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    I have been advised by a farmer friend that horse manure is okay once dry but the fresher moist manure is a little acidic and may burn exposed roots or the stem if applied near them. I haven't heard of any health concerns though.
     
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  4. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Yes I totally agree with both Ken and Ash.

    I like to compost really fresh horse manure before placing it onto the garden. This can be as simple as leaving it in a big pile to sit and rest for about 3 months and turning it with a fork or spade occasionally. Earthworms and organisms will start to inhabit the manure and it matures into awesome plant food and growing medium that can be safely used in the garden.

    The other thing I do is place it directly into a garden bed, which is being rested for several months. Just on top and not dug in at this stage and left until it has broken down and dried out then dig it into the soil when ready for crops - works a treat! This process feeds the worms in the garden bed and the manure sitting on top of the soil also protects the worms from the elements as the bed is resting without any plants. I got this idea from when I used to go fishing with my Grandfather and we went worm hunting on the farm, first we used to seek out all the old cow patties and dig the soil under them to find the best worms :twothumbsup:

    Manures are terrific as natural fertilisers but also feed good micro organisms plus worms etc. The other thing manure in the garden does is improve the water holding properties and structure of soil - wonderful stuff!
     
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  5. bearded1

    bearded1 Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    The other issue with horse poo is that because horses don't ruminate (chew the cud), whole seeds pass through them, making it very likely that you will introduce weeds into the equation. I've had this happen before and now won't use it. Also if you cut yourself whilst using the stuff or digging in the dirt afterwards, make sure you get a tetanus shot as horses are renowned for it.
    B1
     
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  6. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    That's true but I get weeds in my vegetable garden regardless and a few extra via horse manure doesn't matter too much considering the other benefits.

    If weeds are a big concern you can hot compost horse poo covered in a pile in the sun for several months and this kills most weeds or they germinate then die from lack of light. This also helps to mature the manure so it's safer to use on the garden.

    After hot composting the manure can be moved to a cool shady spot and over time it will become populated with worms which will then be transported to the garden when used.

    It can be a lengthy process to get manure from the horses bum to the garden but it is worth it!
     
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  7. Elle 's Belles

    Elle 's Belles Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I just gave up using horse manure because of the copious amount of grains sprouting in amongst my flowers and vege patch. But this tip is such a good idea, Mark. Thank you for thinking that one out for me :idea: It's free as my friend loves to get rid of it - but I've been trying to avoid her as she feeds her horse so much grain! Now the chooks are gone - so is my preferred version of fertiliser ... so will have to get back to it with the above modifications :cheer:
     
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  8. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Good stuff Elle! :)
     
  9. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    A thing to note about horse poo is it is low in nitrogen so adding it fresh from paddock sources will deplete nitrogen reserves in the soil. Adding blood & bone at the same time under the poo will redress that imbalance.

    Another thing to think about is whether it is stable waste including wet bedding or straight manure picked up from a paddock.

    Stable waste bedding takes many forms such as hardwood or softwood shavings which need treatment or the sap might cause a burning effect or kill small plants. In anycase the bedding itself has no nitrogen either so more needs to be added such as blood & bone unless most of the bedding component of the bagged manure is wet from urine. It's around a double handful per 10kg wet/moist manure or 2 double handfuls per feed bag full of manure. If there is a lot of wet bedding you may get away with not needing extra B&B.

    Straight from the paddock will be extremely low nitrogen, full of weeds & will have the same deficiencies as the paddock grass had. Also since horses are not ruminants, their stomachs do not break down the wax in the cell walls of the grass (the stuff that makes grass leaves resistant to water) so once the manure is dry, it will be hydrophobic & very hard to rewet in the compost or soil. It won't mix that well with soil again unless a great care is taken to rewet it using some form of bacterial breakdown process ie composting. Composting can occur right in the soil of the garden bed but you might find those plants don't seem to do that well for a while until the balance is restored.

    Leaving bags of straight manure from the paddock resting on fallow beds in the shade is about the best way to get the benefits of the manure. Watering or rain washes the nutrient into the soil below while maintaining a moisture level within the bag. Once the bag has reduced in volume by more than 50% it can be tipped out onto the bed & dug in straight away. I would not leave this type of manure exposed to dry out. But it can be added directly to compost with enough B&B if dug through or covered immediately with a thick layer of green waste.

    Stable waste is somewhat a different story since if it contains urine it can be put straight in the compost or on a bed with reasonable results. Stable waste also has the benefits of being far more nutritionally balanced because the horse is being fed a balanced ration & the bedding is wet with urine.

    Paddock manure can be anything but balanced.
     
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  10. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member

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    That is just excellent advice - thank you.
    In summary, not to be used as is. Best treated and composted first.
     
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